North African Jewish manuscript collection
Scope and Contents
The collection includes manuscripts from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. It consists of legal documents concerning such issues as marriage, divorce, property, inheritance, and business dealings of all kinds. In addition, there are manuscripts of poetry, liturgy, mystical texts, folk customs and beliefs, homilies and more. They are in Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Spanish, Arabic, French, Spanish and Italian and date from the eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century. The heart of the collection is the material relating to the Jews of Morocco; it was the largest and most influential in the region. Jewish settlement in Morocco has long and illustrious history that goes back to Greco/Roman times. Over the centuries the community produced many noted scholars, rabbis, poets, men of commerce, and statesmen. The Jewish population was composed of groups indigenous to the region and Jews that immigrated to Morocco from Spain and Portugal. While Jewish life has ceased to exist in most Muslim countries, Morocco still has a small Jewish community. The manuscripts come from most regions and cities in the country. These include Casablanca, Fès, Marrakech, Mogador (also known as Essaouira), Meknès, Rabat, Sefrou, Tétouan and Tangier. There is also material from smaller and less well-known towns and villages.
- 1714-circa 2000
- Majority of material found within 1800 - 1950
Language of Materials
The documents in this collection are predominantly written in Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic. The remainder are in Judeo-Spanish, French, Spanish, Arabic and Italian.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Transferred from the Judaica Collection, 2003, 2006, 2013-2015. Bulk of collection purchased by the Judaica Collection from Yeshayahu Vinograd and Moshe Rosenfeld.
The collection is arranged in sixteen series and two additions: I. Fe?s, 1755-circa 1960. II. Sefrou, 1754-1940. III. Mekne?s, 1718-circa 2000. IV. Marrakech, 1825-1862. V. Northern/Spanish Morocco, 1720-1957. VI. Tafilalt, 1767-1981. VII. Essaouira, 1844-1957. VIII. Casablanca, circa 1800-1965. IX. Rabat/Salé, 1852-1960. X. Southern Morocco, 1789-1954. XI. Morocco (general), circa 1790-circa 1950. XII. Palestine, Europe, Americas, Egypt, 1714-1962. XIII. Tunisia, 1818-1946. XIV. Libya, 1868-1960. XV. Algeria and Eastern Morocco, 1788-1949. XVI. Marriage contracts (ketubot), 1766-1951.
27.58 Linear Feet (45 boxes)
A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog
The collection includes manuscripts from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. It consists of legal documents concerning such issues as marriage, divorce, property, inheritance, and business dealings of all kinds. In addition, there are manuscripts of poetry, liturgy, mystical texts, folk customs and beliefs, homilies and more. They are in Hebrew, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Spanish, Arabic, French, Spanish and Italian and date from the eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century.
In order to make the North African Collection accessible to researchers, we invited Professor Moshe Bar- Asher, who was born in Morocco and is one of the most knowledgeable scholars in the world on the subject, to help with the translation of the documents and with organizing the collection. Professor Bar-Asher is President of the National Academy of the Hebrew Language and Bialik Professor Emeritus of Hebrew Language at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. We are grateful for his assistance and guidance.
The Yale library received the documents over a period of many years and thus in no particular system of organization. Professor Bar-Asher suggested that we divide them into series according to geographic location. Some of the larger communities have been further subdivided so as to bring together documents related to important figures or centers. Within each category the documents are arranged by a repository assigned identification number. Please see introductory notes to each series for further explanation.
- Abi-Ḥasira, Jacob ben Masoud, 1808-1880
- Abiṭbol, ʻAmor, 1782-1854
- Amulets (Judaism) -- Africa, North
- Attar, Judah ben Jacob ibn, 1655-1733
- Ben Nayim, Yosef, 1882-1962
- Berdugo, Petaḥyah Mordekhai, 1764-1820
- Berdugo, Refaʼel, 1747-1821
- Berdugo, Yaʻaḳov, -1901
- Corcos, Yeshuʻah, 1832-1929
- Divorce -- Religious aspects -- Judaism
- Folk religion -- Africa, North
- Hakhmon, Yissakhar, 1872-1960
- Ibn Danan, Shelomoh, 1848-1929
- Ibn Ẓur, Jacob ben Reuben, 1673-1752
- Jewish sermons -- Africa, North
- Jews -- Africa, North -- History -- Sources
- Jews -- Algeria -- History -- Sources
- Jews -- Libya -- History -- Sources
- Jews -- Morocco -- History -- Sources
- Jews -- Tunisia -- History -- Sources
- Kalfon, Mosheh, ha-Kohen, 1874-1950
- Ketubah -- Africa, North
- Manuscripts, Hebrew -- Africa, North
- Manuscripts, Judeo-Arabic -- Africa, North
- Meśaś, Yosef, 1892-1974
- Monsonego, Raphael Aharon, approximately 1760-1840
- Monsonego, Yehochoua, 1826-1892
- Monsonégo, Yédidia, -1867
- Rabbinical courts -- Africa, North
- Sarfaty, Abner Israel, 1827-1884
- Serero, Matityah
- Sḳali, Daṿid, ha-Kohen, 1861-
- Ṭoledano, Yaʻaḳov, -1771
- Guide to the North African Jewish Manuscript Collection
- compiled by Nanette Stahl, Julie Cohen and Hana Rudnick based on information provided by Moshe Bar-Asher
- October 2003
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
- This collection was described through the generous support of the Arcadia Foundation and the Program in Judaic Studies at Yale.
Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository
Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)
Sterling Memorial Library
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511